When It Comes To Huawei, Corporate Media Think “National Interest” Is The Dividend China Gets For Owning Us


It’s pretty interesting watching the reactions in the media to the GCSB disallowing Spark from using Huawei tech in the 5G network upgrade.

Spark et co appear to be pushing the “not allowing us to use the lowest-cost [and most national security-risk entailing] gear cuts into our profit margins. SO WE ARE GOING TO PASS THE NOT-SAVINGS DIRECTLY ON TO CONSUMERS! NICE JOB MAKING NETWORK ACCESS MORE SECURE AND EXPENSIVE FOR USERS, GOVERNMENT!”

That’s …. probably to be expected. Although it’s rather unfortunate that there’s no acknowledgement of the potential desirability of having a network that’s *not* a bought-and-paid-for playground for PRC malfeasance , as a worth-while trade-off for the aforementioned slight increases in outfitting price.

Of greater interest was the revelation that New Zealand has historically been rather circumspect about PRC-produced materials – and that this was only really reversed under the John Key-led National Government. It probably shouldn’t be any form of surprise; and it’s possible that one could argue that it was only in the late 2000s/early 2010s that Huawei managed to get to a point of offering the hardware in question to markets such as New Zealand.

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But even so, it is both amusing and very much “playing to type” that Key apparently put such emphasis upon attempting to get NZ providers to start integrating Huawei tech into national infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the newspaper commentariat are hand-wringing about how all of this might affect ongoing trade with the PRC.

And while yes, to be fair, the PRC remains a significant market for New Zealand … the plain reality is that there’s something unwholesome about the unseemly prioritization of nominal trade-flows over apparently everything else.


“Look, never mind that there’s a straight up statutory duty for the GCSB to report and advise on *exactly this kind of proposed network improvement* effort. How DARE they do it when we’ve got negotiators over in Beijing RIGHT NOW attempting to lobby for an upgrade to the Free Trade Deal we’ve got with the PRC ??? MADNESS!!!”

And so on and so forth.

Now, all of this would be bad enough … but it’s not like our economic interactions with the PRC have ever really been a “two-way street”.

After all, it wasn’t so long ago that we were significantly penalized for putting proper scrutiny on Chinese steel imports to New Zealand – this, after it turned out that their certification as to quality and safety (done in the PRC) had turned out to be fundamentally fraudulent, leading to construction projects having to be re-done and railway tracks warping under use leading to at least one derailment.

Far be it for me to dare to suggest that a few large corporations operating in NZ, or a former Prime Minister with a key background in international finance … might be more keen on earning interest than the national interest … but it really does seem like many of those advocating and agitating for or on behalf of the PRC in these situations are operating on a fundamentally different set of priorities as compared to the rest of us.

Either “McWorld” … or “McWorld with Chinese Characteristics”.


  1. So when has the GCSB done anything worthwhile and in the public interest?

    As NZ is one of America’s bitches this is Xenophobia at its worst.

    • Huawei revenue: $92bln
      Apple revenue: $230bln
      Samsung revenue: $58bln

      Huawei profit: $8.6 billion
      Apple profit: $61 billion
      Samsung profit: $15bln

      Apple doesn’t compete in the low end segment Huawei operates in. If you want a cheap android phone, there are a dozen different offerings from other companies starting with Samsung.

      Claiming New Zealanders are threatened by Huawei is like claiming Mercedes is threatened by Mitsubishi. Huawei competes with other budget android manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola, as well as budget offerings from Samsung and LG, it doesn’t compete with Apple. Only Samsung(and occasionally Google) really competes with Apple.

      Most people who are sufficiently literate enough to read the privacy agreements in cellphone circles gasp at the stuff they say they’re allowed to do. But I know there’s a difference between corporations using my data to sell me stuff and the Chinese government wanting information to exact its own ends. No one should have to tolerate mass surveillance but here we are.

  2. The NSA (and through them the GCSB) want to be able to spy on all of our communications. Using Chinese equipment makes this more difficult for them and easier for the Chinese. We should insist on open source equipment from any supplier to level the playing field and making it more difficult for all spies to lay secret backdoors.

  3. we need to stand up to these Countries we have seen what happened with the sub standard steel used on the Huntly bridge /bypass work
    the trouble is national have been in the Chinese governments pocket too much its all about money to these people.
    We need to show some spine unlike our last grovelling pm and his ilk

  4. So we’re expected to take the word of the GCSB unquestioned??

    Yeah, nah.

    Not after they were caught a few years ago illegally spying on 88 new zealanders. Trust, no. Close scrutiny, most definitely.

  5. So the NZ secret service, which is part of the 5eyes club, that is already known to circumvent domestic privacy laws by spying on each others citizens, has banned Spark from using Huawei equipment. Isn’t the NZ secret service slightly conflicted? Are they that intent on having NZ citizens indirectly spied on without warrants, and having higher 5g charges for phone users, that they will repeat concerns of the 5eyes club, who operate a giant database in Utah holding untold number of NZ citizens data. The obvious concern with the Huawei equipment, is that it’s more secure, and not less secure, making it more difficult for the 5eyes club to intercept, unless they have access to the tics lawful interception patch in. I’m sure Huawei would sign a secret service waiver, allowing any information to be released. Sorry for calling it, the way I see it, but unless the NZ secret service can provide proof, of better caliber than Sadams wmd proof, that they have come up with themselves, and not just cut and pasted from the 5eyes club, then I suggest the NZ secret service has been pulling the wool over Mr Little. I’m sure Mr Little has access to technical expertise, to analyze any proof provided, or will it be the case that when actual proof is asked for, it will be shown to be as much of a mirage, as the wmd’s were. And as a trained lawyer, he will see the privacy work arounds that have been carefully placed in NZ spying laws, such as not having a proper definition of private communication, and not giving the Inspector General sufficient powers. You can’t keep giving in to paranoid secret service junkies who are addicted to snooping more and more on NZ citizens, and becoming irrational when they can’t get their fix. The NZ secret service needs the maturity to realize that they are not Elloy, and NZ citizens are not Morlocks, and the book 1984, was not an instruction manual. You can join the dots. First Australia legislated voip backdoors, then Arjen Kamphius, then false flag attacks on AnneMarie Brady, and now the Huawei crap. If the secret service really needs to know which hand citizens use to wipe their bums, then their addiction is in dire need of therapy and rehab, and the first step is to acknowledge they have a problem. It’s obvious that privacy online is receding, but it’s only a matter of time before every word breathed into a telephone in NZ, will be identified by artificial intelligence, and then recorded by the 5eyes club, for the good of the nation. That’s probably why the secret service headquarters in Wellington is being rebuilt to house the vast increase in electronics, after the original building, had NO obvious damage from the Kaikoura earthquake. Such omnipotent panopticism, will do wonders for collective mental health. I can’t wait…

  6. How does the GCSB decision impact on the NZ-China fta?? I would have thought China would have a strong case to take to the WTO. Don’t forget, it was NZ that pursued a fta with China, not the other way round. Now we’re blocking them from tendering for a telco contract??

    Is this the freee market in operation is it? Righto, got it.

    If China abandons the fta with us, let’s not forget who provoked who.

    (By the way, I hold no truck with the Bejjing regime. Their one party state is odious, to put it mildly. And they should get the feck out of Tibet.)

    • When China joined the WTO in 2001 America enjoyed supremacy at sea. Americas glass boats and missile destroyers could sail between the Chinese coast and Tawain, after China joined the WTO America could no longer bully Beijing into trading how America wanted.

      Now that Beijing can no longer be bullied by Washington, Washington and its Pentagon dogs view China as its number one threat. Yet the Washinton consensus forget themselves, and grow over confident.

      In 2001 no one thought China would go through the most amazing economic transformation in all of history. In 2018 China is now the equal of the Untied States of America.

      • Thumbs up, Sam.

        On top of which China holds US$1.2 trillion of US government debt bonds. If the Chinese want to play hard ball, they’ve got the ammo to do it. What would the Yanks do if China called in that debt?

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